U.S. Energy Outlook Shows Slow Growth In Renewables

U.S. Energy Outlook Shows Slow Growth In Renewables

ENS) – The use of renewable energy to generate electricity will grow slowly over the next 20 years, with most of the growth coming from states that have enacted renewable portfolio standards, shows an energy outlook from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Total renewable generation, including cogeneration, is projected to increase by 0.7 percent per year, says the Energy Information Agency in its partial release of the annual energy outlook. The full report will be released later this month. The low costs of fossil fuel fired power generation will keep the growth of renewable energy technologies low, as will the bias of electricity restructuring for less expensive natural gas technologies over coal and renewables.

"Currently, attention in energy markets is focused on near term issues of world oil supply and prices, U.S. natural gas prices, and the transition to restructured electricity markets in several regions of the country," the agency report explains.

The outlook addresses the longer term trends of electricity industry restructuring, fossil fuel supply and prices, and the impacts of economic growth on projected energy use and emissions of carbon dioxide, but does not project short term supply disruptions or severe weather. While world oil prices fell through 1997 and 1998, they are moving upward again, and natural gas prices have also increased due to high demand and tight supplies.

The projected growth rate of the U.S. economy will average 3.0 percent a year until 2020, and the optimistic economic prediction by EIA results in higher forecasts of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions than in past outlooks.